Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snow and Three Trees!

Yesterday we woke up to gray skies and snow falling. It fell steady all day long, although none of it really stuck to the ground. It continued on through the night and this was the scene we woke to this morning. Not enough snow to cause driving problems or shoveling but just enough to make it feel all wintery and give you a good dose of a Christmas spirit!! I managed to get my trees up and decorated over the weekend. This tree is in my dining room. It started with a collection of acrylic ornaments Josh & Amy gave me one year. They were getting lost on the big tree so I wanted them to be "showcased" on their own tree. Over the years I have added delicate, glass, and glittery ornaments to this tree.
The "big" tree I had used for the last 11 years was given to me by my mom. I think she used it almost 10 years. It was a great tree but the last couple years, it had faded and was losing alot of it's branches. Every year when I took it down, I vowed it would be the last year for that tree...until I priced replacement trees and instead of spending money on a new tree, I'd take it back out and put it up again. New trees are expensive!! A month or so ago, on a routine hunt through Goodwill, I came across a Christmas tree that looked fairly new. Since the packaging was the same as my other tree, I knew the quality of the tree would be good. I bought it without seeing it. I lugged that HUGE box out of the store and somehow got it in my car. Brought it home, put it together this weekend and I LOVE IT!!!! The best part was the price.....$19.95!!!!!!!!! This tree holds my huge ornament collection.

2 years ago, I bought Emily her own little tree to put up. Last year, Amy bought a collection of Disney themed ornaments from Hallmark. We decided to gather up all the ornaments that had a Disney theme and put them together on another tree instead of Emily's little tree. I pulled out Josh's Mickey Mouse hat we bought him on a trip to Disney 16 years ago to use as the topper.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Continuing On

Within two weeks of that first date on May 1, 1983, I knew I would marry Cliff. We spent every moment we could together over the course of those first 5 months. By the fall of that year, Cliff's ship was repaired and preparing to leave the Brooklyn ship yard and head back to Jacksonville, FL (its home port). I was so devastated!! I could not imagine him not being around for Christmas!! The night he left for Jacksonville, I cried like I never cried before. It literally felt like my heart was broken in two. He wasn't able to get leave for Christmas so he came in January. It was during this leave that he took my dad out for the famous steak dinner and formally asked if he could marry me. We went ring shopping that weekend!! We weren't able to set a wedding date, however, because if you recall, one of the "hot spots" at the time was Libia and there was a distinct possibility Cliff could get sent over there. I was almost 19 at the time and I'd never been away from home. My parents didn't want me to get married, move to Jacksonville, and then have Cliff be gone for a year.

By May, things had settled down and we were able to set a wedding date.
November 24, 1984... 24 years ago today. Through the years we have weathered our share of storms. We have had our share of ups and downs just like every other couple out there. But we have stayed together. God has blessed us with 4 children who we are so very proud of. It's not always been an easy life but its been a good that I hope continues on for another 24.

24 years ago, we looked forward to babies and building a home. These days we look forward to grandchildren and making our home even stronger. We are a good team. We balance each other well. Today, the phrase, "God Is Good" is continually running through my mind.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Beginnings

It was May, 1983. I had a Junior-Senior banquet coming up (private school's prom alternative). Some friends of mine, Michael, Suzanne & Margaret were encouraging me to ask this new guy at church to go. His name was Cliff. I wasn't very interested. Unknown to me, they arranged for Cliff to ask me to go to Friendlie's for some ice cream, along with Michael & Suzanne. I agreed and I had a GREAT time! I was so comfortable with Cliff!!
About a week or two later, I asked him to go to that Junior-Senior banquet. At the same time I met Cliff, my sister asked his friend, Hank, to go to the same banquet with her. We also had another couple going with us as well. The night of the banquet, we girls got ready at our house while the guys met up at Michael & Suzanne's (they lived just down the street). My grandparents and Aunt Roxie were also visiting from Kansas so there was so much excitement in our house that night. As Elizabeth & I were waiting for the guys to come pick us up, we looked down the street and what do you think we saw?? Cliff & Hank, in all of their excitement, were doing drill marching in their Navy uniforms in the street!! Everyone in our house screamed & laughed!! There was only one bad thing about that night. I HATED my dress!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Tune in next week for another installment!!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


My Top Ten List of Things I'm Thankful For:

1 - My relationship with God that gives me peace, comfort,direction, security, forgiveness and grace...(to name a few!)
2 - My husband - who has honored his wedding vows for almost 24 years and gives me the freedom to be me. Cliff works so hard each week to provide for us. Cliff is a very kind man and has been a good father to our children.
3 - My four children - each one is so different and unique and each one blesses me in their own individual way.
4 - My parents - who I am so blessed to live so close to and who are in good health. They are godly examples to our family and wonderful grandparents to my kids. They have been there for us countless times through the years.
5 - My siblings & their families - I have a great friendship with both my brother and sister and their respective spouses (yes, Paul, even you :-) I love my neices and nephews and wish I could be more of a part of their lives.
6 - My church - I feel so honored to not only work for our church but to worship with this body of believers each week.
7 - My extended family - There are so many spread all over the country. I wish we were able to gather together more often!
8 - My friends - Some of the best! Who are so hospitable and show such kindness to Cliff & I. More than any other time in my life do I count myself to be so rich by the good, good friends that I have.
9 - My country - No, we are not perfect, but we are free! May God continue to preserve the freedoms we enjoy!!
10 - My pets - I know this may seem kind of silly but I have to tell you, they are such a comfort to me!! I just love each and every one of them :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

For several years, I have participated in "Operation Christmas Child", sponsored by Samaritan's Purse. This ministry is run by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.
All you do, is fill a shoebox with gifts that will be sent to children various countries around the world. I am always moved when I see videos of these children receiving these shoeboxes. They are so thankful. To think, their entire Christmas is wrapped up in that little shoebox!! It is such a great thing to get kids involved in. In our country where we take so much for granted, it's such a lesson in gratitude and sharing to have them fill a box.
If you want more info, you can visit the Samritan's Purse website here. If you are someone who attends church with me, all the info is at church and you can drop off filled shoeboxes there also.
It's a wonderful, practical way that God's love is spread across the globe.

Snow Flurries

It is cold and blustery today. And we had our first snow flurries!! Tomorrow the weather man says it will be 60!! No wonder everyone is coughing and sniffling!!
My oldest daughter, Amy, is moving back home tomorrow. She has come to the realization that she is not where God wants her to be. She thought she wanted to be an elementary school teacher. She's going to take a semester off of school and try to find out what God wants of her life. It's going to be a bit of an adjustment for everyone around here. Cliff, I, and the two kids still at home have a routine going that works very well for all of us. All in all, though, I will be glad to have her home and I'm excited for her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thanksgiving On My Mind

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. When we were kids, my mom would cook and bake for days it seemed. She would bake cookies and make fudge and snacks. And on Thanksgiving our house would always be full of people.
We would share the dinner and the afternoon would be filled with games and classic movies like the classic "King King" or Oliver and Hardy's "March of the Wooden Soldiers." One year, mom gave us an early Christmas present, A Monopoly Game. Can I tell you how exciting that was?

We still go to my mom and dad's for Thanksgiving. These days, though, its just Cliff and I and our kids and my parents. The house is still full of family but it's a little lower key. If you know my mom, you know we still play games. She LOVES board games and she LOVES playing them. These days, I am the parent, hoping my kids will come home and share Thanksgiving with us. I have been fortunate so far!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Another Piano Video

Another video of my Aunt was uploaded to Youtube.
"Jesus Is All The World To Me"

Winter Arrives

Winter weather has blown in here in the mid-west! I'm kind of hoping we get one more spell of moderate temperatures before the frigid cold sets in!! All the trees are bare thanks to cold gusty wind. The bare trees and the cloudy skies make it look real wintery around here!!

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. We have foods that have almost become traditions to our Thanksgiving. For example, I always make Pecan Pie for my dad. We also always have a cheesy broccoli casserole, turkey (of course), and an alternate meat choice (I don't eat turkey). Last year, I made tons of Chex Mix for snacking on in the afternoon. My mom always makes what we call "Eagle Brand" pie (it's a concoction of cream cheese, Eagle Brand, and lemon juice) it's very, very rich and very, very good!!

So what are your "must have" Thanksgiving foods?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Aunt Roxie

It came to my attention today that this video is up on youtube.
It's of my Aunt Roxie playing her own arrangement of "Love Lifted Me."
One of my favorites!

Country Drive on a Fall Day

Today I did something I have wanted to do for years but never made the time.
I drove down a back-road in our little town with my camera.
Here's some of what I saw on this gorgeous fall day!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Beautiful Weather & Under the Weather

Every year at this time, Cliff gets a cold and congestion in his chest. We always have to watch him & make sure he's coughing because once it turned into pneumonia and he was close to having to be hospitalized. He's getting better but being the generous man that he is, I now have a cold. I'm sitting here all shivery and congested with a nice dull headache. I think in a bit I'm going to go have some hot tea. I am NOT a hot beverage drinker. I wish so much I liked coffee because it always smells so good. I don't drink hot tea or cocoa either but today, something warm may get rid of the chills!
In other health news, my dad is doing much better. It's so good to see him up and around and more like his old self again.
We had a blast of cold weather this past week. Two nights it was down in the 30's and one night it went down to 25!! I had to reluctantly turn on the heat to get rid of the chill in the house. I'm not looking forward to the heat bills!!!